The Graduate (1967)
The Birds (1963)
The Godfather (1972)
Citizen Kane (1941)

Film Studies

The Language of Film

4 Tuesdays, November 14 to December 5, 2023, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm  
Instructor: Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Deputy Director, BMFI

This course introduces students to cinematic grammar, giving them the vocabulary and frames of reference to view and discuss motion pictures in an insightful and critical manner. Clips from an assortment of films will illustrate different aspects of the medium’s language, including cinematography, sound, editing, and more. In addition, we’ll showcase some of cinema’s most memorable images, accompanied by commentary from the cinematographers who made them.

From an early age, we learn to observe movies with awe and delight. Now, as we carry that wonder with us into adulthood, we can also approach cinema as more active and sophisticated viewers. Join us to learn to engage with the medium on its own terms and to discover some of the techniques by which we make meaning of the movies we see. Understanding the language of film allows you to get more enjoyment out of your cinematic experience—and to impress your friends at the post-movie discussion!

Course Information

$100 for members, $140 for non-members


  • Tuesday, November 14 · 6:30 pm
  • Tuesday, November 21 · 6:30 pm
  • Tuesday, November 28 · 6:30 pm
  • Tuesday, December 5 · 6:30 pm